Clemens v. McNamee: Who’s Lying?
In the last three weeks, the media has been awash in stories about China—virtually all negative.
China seems powerless to put a positive spin on anything. As the Beijing Olympics approach, the media spotlight will shine brighter on China and stories will proliferate.
Business people should follow coverage of China and watch firsthand the utter failure of PR and reputation management.
The challenge: put yourself in the shoes of the Chinese authorities and figure out how to convert PR disasters into opportunities. Or is putting lipstick on the pig the best anyone could do?
For example, check out the stories below—including Stephen Spielberg’s resignation as Olympic artistic director (Feb. 12), Beijing’s ham-handed response (Feb. 14) and how the Chinese media (with Beijing’s blessing) piled on to humiliate Spielberg (Feb. 18). How would you have responded?
* Three firms indicted over Chinese poison pet food exports. –The Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2008: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120233065073748531.html
* Disposable chopsticks destroying Chinese forests. —The Wall Street Journal Online, February 8, 2008: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120243065514952215.html
* Chinese chicken and meats are so full of steroids and illegal veterinary drugs that the U.S. Olympic Committee will ship 25,000 pounds of lean protein to the Olympic training center to feed the 600 American athletes. —The New York Times, February 9, 2008: http://tinyurl.com/25zfa9
* The British Olympic Committee has been forced by China to require that its athletes sign a contract promising not to speak out about China’s human rights record, or face banishment from the Beijing Games. – The Times (UK), February 10, 2008: http://tinyurl.com/yu3epz
* China, long an exporter of coal, is using so much coal that it’s now importing it, driving the price up worldwide. —The Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2008: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120275985736359763.html
* Stephen Spielberg resigns as Olympic artistic advisor to protest China’s involvement in the Darfur crisis that has left 200,000 dead and 2.3 million homeless. —The New York Times, February 13, 2008: http://tinyurl.com/2x2ug9